Emerson Quartet, Queen Elizabeth Hall, London

The programme could not have been more felicitously constructed: three Central European string quartets, composed during a two-year period in the Twenties when Modernism had just found its voice.

Blasphemy, By Sherman Alexie. Grove Press, £14.99

Sherman Alexie has beaten the odds. First, he wasn't expected to live, having been born with hydrocephalus, which is fatal if not treated. Secondly, not many Native Americans rise above the narrow confines set by white society – and, as Alexie illustrates, some of their own community – to reach literary success. Alexie has done so, with many national awards.

A taste of India: Learning to cook in Kerala

Hanging upside-down off the back of a wildly bobbing boat is not the best time to do the grocery shopping. Eye-to-eye contact is, I'm told, a key to successful bartering but, like keeping my breakfast down, I'm finding it hard to maintain.

Alex Thomson reaches Les Sables d’Olonne

Alex Thomson goes round the world in 80 days

Sailor becomes the fastest Briton to finish the Vendée Globe, joining the elite at his fourth attempt

Bodyguard of Kony ‘killed’ as Ugandan forces close in on LRA leader

Ugandan forces have killed a former bodyguard of Joseph Kony, a sign they are closing in on the fugitive rebel leader wanted for war crimes.

Tahir ul-Qadri is planning to lead a huge march on Islamabad

Tahir ul-Qadri: The cleric who wants to disrupt Pakistani politics

A cleric has burst on to the political stage in Pakistan vowing to “get rid of electoral dictatorship” in a move that could scupper elections this spring.

Holy Other

The best music of 2012: Electronica

“Dubstep” became an even dirtier word in 2012, because of its synonymity with that wobba-wobba-wob noise to which the US mainstream has so unexpectedly taken.

Armageddon flop: After all that fuss it really wasn't the end of the world

Events organised across the planet for people to either gather for the oncoming Armageddon or to celebrate together the continuance of the human race

This week's wackiest web stories: Bringing sexy back (legally)

Plus: Sat nav Santa, the geek apocalypse and an alternative Christmas card list

Denis Matsuev, Kavakos, LSO, Valery Gergiev, Barbican, London

Unveiling plans for his new Mariinsky theatre, vociferously backing Putin over Pussy Riot, and popping up as an improbable Father Christmas on Radio 3, Valery Gergiev has been hard to ignore this week. But his current exploration with the London Symphony Orchestra continues.

Bruce Willis and Sigourney Weaver voted best placed to save the world from Mayan Prophecy

Brits picked the two actors as most capable of saving humanity in an online poll

Wayne Rooney struggled in the defeat by Cluj

Kevin Garside: Alex Ferguson desperately needs to roll out Wayne Rooney of old – if he still exists

He did not want for effort, but the Manchester United striker is utterly disconnected from his mojo

Is the end of the world really nigh? Authorities reassure Russians over Mayan Armageddon prophecy amid reports of 'unusual behaviour'

Some parts of Russia, which is often said to have a penchant for mystical thinking, appear to have been spooked by the Mayan predictions

Gator aid: 'If attacked, hit the animal'

Simon Calder: Foreign lesions, and how to avoid them

The man who pays his way

Ravichandran Ashwin’s bowling will test England’s batsmen

The Last Word: Let virtues of the long game flourish in Indian summer

T20 desecrates the game’s essence, absolving batsmen of all responsibility

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Day In a Page

Independent Travel
Pompeii, Capri & the Bay of Naples
Seven Cities of Italy
Burgundy, the River Rhone & Provence
Prague, Budapest and Vienna
Lake Garda
3.	Provence 6 nights B&B by train from £599pp
Prices correct as of 20 February 2015
Homeless Veterans campaign: Donations hit record-breaking £1m target after £300,000 gift from Lloyds Bank

Homeless Veterans campaign

Donations hit record-breaking £1m target after huge gift from Lloyds Bank
Flight MH370 a year on: Lost without a trace – but the search goes on

Lost without a trace

But, a year on, the search continues for Flight MH370
Germany's spymasters left red-faced after thieves break into brand new secret service HQ and steal taps

Germany's spy HQ springs a leak

Thieves break into new €1.5bn complex... to steal taps
International Women's Day 2015: Celebrating the whirlwind wit of Simone de Beauvoir

Whirlwind wit of Simone de Beauvoir

Simone de Beauvoir's seminal feminist polemic, 'The Second Sex', has been published in short-form for International Women's Day
Mark Zuckerberg’s hiring policy might suit him – but it wouldn’t work for me

Mark Zuckerberg’s hiring policy might suit him – but it wouldn’t work for me

Why would I want to employ someone I’d be happy to have as my boss, asks Simon Kelner
Confessions of a planespotter: With three Britons under arrest in the UAE, the perils have never been more apparent

Confessions of a planespotter

With three Britons under arrest in the UAE, the perils have never been more apparent. Sam Masters explains the appeal
Russia's gulag museum 'makes no mention' of Stalin's atrocities

Russia's gulag museum

Ministry of Culture-run site 'makes no mention' of Stalin's atrocities
The big fresh food con: Alarming truth behind the chocolate muffin that won't decay

The big fresh food con

Joanna Blythman reveals the alarming truth behind the chocolate muffin that won't decay
Virginia Ironside was my landlady: What is it like to live with an agony aunt on call 24/7?

Virginia Ironside was my landlady

Tim Willis reveals what it's like to live with an agony aunt on call 24/7
Paris Fashion Week 2015: The wit and wisdom of Manish Arora's exercise in high camp

Paris Fashion Week 2015

The wit and wisdom of Manish Arora's exercise in high camp
8 best workout DVDs

8 best workout DVDs

If your 'New Year new you' regime hasn’t lasted beyond February, why not try working out from home?
Paul Scholes column: I don't believe Jonny Evans was spitting at Papiss Cissé. It was a reflex. But what the Newcastle striker did next was horrible

Paul Scholes column

I don't believe Evans was spitting at Cissé. It was a reflex. But what the Newcastle striker did next was horrible
Miguel Layun interview: From the Azteca to Vicarage Road with a million followers

From the Azteca to Vicarage Road with a million followers

Miguel Layun is a star in Mexico where he was criticised for leaving to join Watford. But he says he sees the bigger picture
Frank Warren column: Amir Khan ready to meet winner of Floyd Mayweather v Manny Pacquiao

Khan ready to meet winner of Mayweather v Pacquiao

The Bolton fighter is unlikely to take on Kell Brook with two superstar opponents on the horizon, says Frank Warren
War with Isis: Iraq's government fights to win back Tikrit from militants - but then what?

Baghdad fights to win back Tikrit from Isis – but then what?

Patrick Cockburn reports from Kirkuk on a conflict which sectarianism has made intractable